The L.A. Planning Commission will open the Civic Center to a public hearing tonight on whether a ban on fast food restaurants in the 10th Council District, representing West Adams, Baldwin Hills, and Leimert Park, should be overturned. The moratorium on new stand-alone fast food businesses in South L.A. became permanent in 2010, banning them from opening within a half-mile radius of another such business, following ongoing debate over the region's disproportionate surplus of fast food restaurants and their relation to the population's nearly 30% obesity rate. In recent years, arguments have begun labeling the dangers of so-called "food deserts" as being just a myth. Which is not to say opponents of the measure don't have some powerful allies in big business.
UCLA School of Public Health professor William McCarthy,a supporter of the ban, tells CBS, "We know that in neighborhoods where you have access to more full-service grocery stores and to sit-down restaurants, you can have a higher proportion of your calories come from fruits and vegetables."
On the other side, past meetings to discuss this policy have been attended by McDonald's ghouls, who argue that the ban is hurting local businesses. Dozens of residents are expected to attend the discussion tonight at 8:30 P.M., though a decision to relax or uphold the ban will likely be scheduled for a later date.